The PWA had their first event of the 2020 season, a Slalom World Tour 1Star event. They had their kick off in the Zoo Station in Bol on the Island of Brac, Croatia. 23 men participated in the new Slalom discipline, a combination of fin slalom and foil slalom. 10 ladies registered in the event. They still run their fin and foil slaloms in extra categories. All of them participated in the Slalom discipline and 7 riders fought for the victory in the foil slalom, too.
The riders had awesome conditions here for 5 days in a row. The famous summer wind, the Maestrale, which gets accelerated in between the islands of Brac and Hvar, blew almost every afternoon and allowed the race crew to run 12 eliminations for men, 13 eliminations for the ladies fin slalom and 6 eliminations for the ladies foil slalom.
Victories for Jenna Gibson & Maciek Rutkowski
PWA: “The 2020 Zoo Station Croatia PWA Slalom World Tour proved a massive success with Bol producing 5 days racing out of a possible 6. Over the course of the last 6 days 12 Men’s Eliminations, 13 Women’s Slalom Eliminations & 6 Women’s Foil Eliminations were able to be completed in solid conditions, while just returning to the racecourse represents a major step in the right direction after the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Maciek Rutkowski gives a video re-cap on the PWA 1 Star Slalom World Cup Croatia
Women’s Slalom & Foil competitions – Jenna Gibson dominates in Bol, Brac
Jenna Gibson was the clear standout sailor of the week in the women’s fleet as the 22-year-old reeled off 13 consecutive bullets – she won every single elimination – to claim a landslide victory in the Slalom, whilst she also produced an excellent comeback on the foil to claim the Foil event title. Gibson had trailed Alice Read by 0.7 of a point, but a victory in the last elimination of the week saw her pip Read to the title – with Read only managing to finish 3rd and eventually losing out by the same margin.
The Women’s Slalom podium is completed by Palma Cargo and Alice Read, while the Women’s Foil podium is completed by Alice Read and Adéla Rašková.
Men’s Slalom competition – Maciek Rutkowski shows great skills
Maciek Rutkowski walks away from the opening event of the year with a first victory on the world tour. As a one-star event, the points gained here won’t count towards the world title, but Rutkowski will be delighted to have carried his excellent form from last year into the new season. The Pole finishes the event with an impressive record of 7 victories from 12, whilst only finishing once outside the top 3 to cap a dominant performance.
The homegrown talent of Enrico Marotti couldn’t quite find a way to overpower Rutkowski, so the Croatian doesn’t walk away from his home event with the top spot, but he still claimed a solid second place, just ahead of Italy’s Bruno Martini, who completes the podium. Enrico Marotti and Bruno Martini were both able to win several eliminations each (3 wins for Marotti & 2 wins for Martini), but a few costly errors ultimately cost them a shot at the title.
The top 5 is completed by last year’s PWA Youth Slalom World Champion Basile Jacquin and Croatian Luka Mratovic.
Just a few top riders of the ladies and men pro fleet, who are World Cup approved – travelled to Bol, Brac to compete in the first PWA racing event of the season. The fleets were quite small in general, but the best ranked riders made it on the podiums. The Maestrale wind was on during the event period and a lot of action happened: 18 eliminations for the ladies and 12 for the men. The first ever fin/foil Slalom World Cup event format in the men category worked fine. More eliminations could be run, even in the lightest conditions.
Was it worth to run the event in these difficult times? It’s a difficult question to answer indeed. A few other organizations cancelled their tours for 2020 completely, some already re-started like football, Formula 1, MotoGP. The PWA is a World Tour and a lot of riders actually have a hard time to travel or even travel bans. Of course it was “just” a 1 Star event, which doesn’t count for a World title ranking and the location isn’t too crowded. It looks like Toni Bulic, event organizer and owner of the Zoo Station, put a lot of effort into his event and had thought of the safety requirements in advance. Let’s hope that the event did not cause any positive Covid-19 cases and the event will happen in 2021 again. By the way, Toni already ran freestyle events at the Zoo Station in the past. Let’s bring back the freestyle discipline to Bol!
Men Slalom (fin and foil combined)
Ladies Slalom (fin only)
Ladies Slalom (foil only)